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Preah Vihear prisoners ‘have flu, not Covid-19’

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Ministry of Health spokeswoman Or Vandine. Hong Menea

Preah Vihear prisoners ‘have flu, not Covid-19’

Ministry of Health spokeswoman Or Vandine said on Tuesday that tests revealed that 147 prisoners in Preah Vihear province did not have Covid-19. They are believed to be suffering from influenza and have symptoms of coughing, fevers and runny noses.

She said after the ministry received information about the sick prisoners on August 31, a team of doctors checked the inmates, who were divided into three groups.

Eleven prisoners had symptoms of influenza, she said. Results from the 147 tests released on Tuesday were negative for Covid-19.

“So, it is not the case of Covid-19 and analytic results at a laboratory also proved that it is influenza. It is a disease that spreads if we fail to protect ourselves properly. A working group has also briefed the prisoners on health precedures so that they know how to prevent it from spreading further,” she said, adding that the inmates’ health was improving.

In mid-August, the ministry took samples from 34 monks at the Neang Khmao Pagoda in Rovieng commune, in Takeo province’s Samrong district for testing after they caught colds. The tests proved that the monks were suffering from colds.

The Ministry of Interior’s General Department of Prisons spokesman Nuth Savna said the Preah Vihear provincial prison house more than 400 inmates. Recently, 11 new prisoners were quarantined for 14 days before being sent for detention along with other inmates.

Provincial health department director Kuong Lo told The Post on Tuesday the influenza outbreak in the prison can be infectious when prisoners leave their cells to do labour.

He said relatives who visit them have to undergo health checks in advance. They are required to have their temperatures taken, and wash hands with sanitiser at exits and entrances of prisons. Conversations between relatives and prisoners are through glass barriers.

“Preventing Covid-19 infections can protect prisoners from other respiratory diseases. But what worries us is that they can transmit them among themselves when leaving prison cells to do work outside,” he said.

Lo said those who caught the flu were feeling better after receiving pills from the provincial health department. After giving them medicine for three days, he said the health department will check the prisoners’ health and continue to monitor them until they make a full recovery.

Cambodia has recorded 274 Covid-19 cases, 266 of whom have been discharged from hospitals.

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